Modern technology advances quickly, and with it the content that we create gets better and very often bigger. The average photo taken with a mobile phone is about 2 MB big, most phones shoot HD video that also ends up saved in the form of large mp4 files, etc. The trouble comes when we need to send these large files, as this can be really challenging.
Things get even worse if you practice a profession where you can’t avoid dealing with such huge files – visual designers, photographers and video producers are the most obvious examples. But there are also the social media and content marketing specialists, architects, engineers, accountants, and even doctors and dentists who need to work with and share images, videos, blueprints, reports and spreadsheets or X-rays and medical records… Really, the list is very, very long.
This is why we have compiled a list with the different ways you can use for transferring big chunks of data. We rated the different solutions based on three criteria:
Convenience: How easy and intuitive it is to use; how much technical background you need to send or receive a file;
Frustration coefficient: The chance of you getting incredibly frustrated for not being to share a file until you give up; and
Security: How safe it is to transfer the file that way.
Here goes the list from least convenient to the best way of exchanging big files. Make sure to read until the end because we’ve saved the best for last.
What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the phrase “sending files”? We’re guessing you thought of email. It is convenient as you use your email anyways. If you need to send or receive a file bigger than 10 or 25 MB, however, you’re in trouble. Most email servers cap attachment sizes at either 10 MB or 25 MB – so emailing is often not an option.
Be honest: how many times have you waited for a big attachment to upload only to hit the “Send” button and get a message that the attached file is too big and can’t be sent? Grrr…
On top of this, email is a bad choice for transferring sensitive or confidential data, as email messages are fairly easy to intercept – unless you use an encrypted email service, which you probably don’t.
Some archiving programs like WinRAR and 7-Zip for example let you split a file into a number of smaller archives (be prepared as it may take a while). Then keep your fingers crossed, praying that no errors occur. Then send them one by one. Then hope the recipient has the same program and can extract the archive.
Now that we think of it, it is an option for sending larger files but it really shouldn’t be one.
Using an FTP server requires a complex setup and an onboarding process for the average user who hasn’t faced this somewhat archaic technology before. It can be an option if you already have it set up and exchange very big files on a regular basis – but if you’re simply trying to send your parents a video of your kid doing something funny, then give up on FTP and keep reading.
To send a file over Skype, you just drag and drop into a conversation, which makes it a piece of cake to use. The receiver would then have to figure out where exactly is the file stored on their computer but we trust it this is doable for the average user.
The cons of using Skype is that it takes forever to send even smaller files, so it could be a bit annoying. It is also not secure so keep this in mind (the documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that the NSA has been listening to Skype calls since 2010). Last but not least, it’s doesn’t look particularly professional so we wouldn’t use it for work.
There are many online services for transferring big files but most of them have limitations to the maximum size of the files that you can send for free, or that you can send in general. In most cases, that limitation is 2 GB.
The security of many such platforms is questionable but if you really insist on using one of them, go to pCloud Transfer where you can send both encrypted and unencrypted files.
We saved the best option for last: cloud storage. And not just any cloud storage service but pCloud, and here’s why.
Sharing with pCloud is super easy, whether you do it via the web version, any of the mobile apps or our desktop application pCloud Drive. With the latter, you just gotta right-click on a file and grab your download link, which you can share via email, instant messenger/chat, etc.
There is no size limit on the size of the files you add and share through pCloud – as long as you have enough storage space in your account, you’re good to exchange a file as big or as small as you like.
And that’s not all. All the other methods of transferring files were one-way – i.e. you were only sending items. With pCloud you can also receive – and again, that happens with a single click in pCloud Drive. Not only that but you get to decide whether to send someone an Upload link or invite them to a folder.
The service is as secure and you would never have to worry if the recipient actually got the file – like in the case of multi-part archives or email for example.